Last week the Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC) was represented at the 4th ARISE+ Roundtable Discussion on Trade Facilitation.

This event featured the launch of the e-Platform and is the latest initiative to facilitate greater private sector engagement by ASEAN member states.  The e-Platform is a new technological tool that connects the ASEAN member states with the private sector initially via business associations such as the CABC.

The e‐Platform is a new tool that has been developed to improve, simplify and render more efficient, effective and expedited process of consultations between ASEAN Institutions. This unique connection between the public and private sector aims to facilitate trade among ASEAN states and address non-tariff barriers and non-tariff measures.

The private sector will be represented by several business advisory councils connected to ASEAN including the Canadian ASEAN Business Council.  The e-Platform will be administered by the ASEAN Secretariat and new private sector actors will be added in the future to enhance public and private sector collaboration on trade.   The session provided feedback from the private sector and the ASEAN government officials from the ten member states.  It is expected that the e-Platform will be formally released soon.

CABC also had the chance to share with the roundtable participants the recent findings of the CABC Trade Facilitation Survey.  Namely, the key findings were:

Top 3 trade facilitation concerns of CABC members

  • Improve transparency of laws, regulations, and administrative rulings – 63.6%
  • Support for micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) – 54.5%
  • Streamline customs procedures and co-operation – 36.4%

The CABC survey also revealed that there was lack of knowledge of ASEAN related trade facilitation initiatives and that members welcomed initiatives such as the e-Platform to bring the public and private sectors closer in collaboration on issues related to trade.

In addition to the e-Platform, the two-day program also featured the release of the EU-ASEAN Business Council’s paper on trade facilitation from a private sector perspective.  The paper, Non-tariff Barriers in ASEAN and their elimination from a business perspective, which was presented by the Asian Trade Centre’s Dr Deborah Elms, showcased some of the challenges that EU and other international players have when exporting to ASEAN.   Non-tariff barriers and non-tariff measures remain a challenge in the region.  A brief executive summary can be found here. The full report can be found here.

CABC will continue to engage with ARISE+ and the ASEAN governments to promote trade between the Canadian business community and the ASEAN member states.